While the majority of American industries have been turned upside down with the COVID-19 pandemic, the restaurant industry is undoubtedly in severe crisis.
According to NPR, the restaurant industry is set to have a hard time recovering from the mass shutdowns that have left small businesses and restaurants unable to pay their rent and unable to pay their workers, many of whom are like family to these businesses.
The restaurant industry is the States’ second largest private employer with 15.6 million workers. The shutdown has rendered these restaurants essentially out of business, leaving many struggling to even think about making rent payments or being able to recover from this and open their doors back up in a few months.
While there is no dining on site in any restaurants across the country, small business owners have been coming together to publicize ways in which people can help the local restaurants in their communities who are struggling.
Take out and curbside pickup are still popular options, as long as customers can rest assured that the kitchen is maintaining proper sanitation practices and workers are not coming in if they are sick.
Many restaurants are also offering gift cards that people can purchase now to help the business stay afloat temporarily, and can use the gift cards once business resumes as usual over the next few months or year.
Additionally, the “Family First Coronavirus Act” was passed and “responds to the growing health and economic crises with provisions for paid sick leave, free testing and expanded unemployment benefits”. With three million Americans filing for unemployment this month, the government is beginning to take necessary but drastic measures to make sure hard working Americans are taken care of as best as possible.
In Arkansas, one landlord has received media attention for his decision to suspend expectations for rent payments during the shutdown, and has asked that restaurant and small business owners pay their employees their regular wage instead.
His company, Young Investment Properties, “owns properties that are home to some of the area’s most popular restaurants, including Eleanor’s Pizzeria, Roots, Main Street Coffee, The Parsonage, and City Wok.
Property owner Clay Young said that all small businesses are suffering right now and he did not want to put more pressure on them during this difficult time”.
Their website states: “In an effort to do our part, Young Investment Company will not expect it’s Restaraunt tenants to pay April rent.
We ask that you use this money instead to pay your employees and take care of your family. Stay strong. We will get through this together!”. They say, “It is just the right thing to do”.